A police officer killed by a single shot from a colleague’s shotgun while on a training exercise was named last night by Greater Manchester police as Ian James Terry.
The 32-year-old firearms officer was hit in the chest as officers used “special munitions” designed to stop vehicles containing armed criminals, during the exercise at a warehouse in Manchester.
Following the shooting, which happened just after 11.30am yesterday, Terry, of Burnley, Lancashire, was taken to North Manchester General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The acting chief constable, Dave Whatton, said: “This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with Ian’s family and friends. He was a well-respected officer and will be sadly missed.”
Terry, who was married, joined the police force in 1997 and had been a firearms officer since 2002.
A Greater Manchester police spokesman said the training exercise had been “reasonably routine” and that similar exercises happened “fairly frequently”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an investigation. It was notified of the incident at 12.40pm and three investigators were sent to carry out an assessment.
Naseem Malik, IPCC commissioner for the north-west, decided an independent investigation should be conducted. “My sympathies go out to the family and friends of the man who died,” he said. “This must have been a very traumatic experience also for all the officers involved in the exercise.”
The focus of the investigation at the Sharp building, in Newton Heath, north of the city, was on four cars parked two behind two and taped off from the rest of the goods yard yesterday afternoon.
One of the cars, a grey Citroën Xsara, had its front passenger window smashed. The driver’s door was open as was the driver’s door of the Suzuki Vitara car parked in front. A bullet-proof jacket, oxygen mask, police helmets and a yellow jacket were on the ground nearby.
Leon Willis, 26, was working at a plumbing supplies shop across the road from the site. He said: “We heard a loud bang. I don’t know if it was a gunshot or not. Then about 10 minutes later all the emergency services were going past in droves.”
In the Commons, Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, told MPs: “The house will be saddened to learn of the tragic death of a police officer during a training exercise with Greater Manchester police. This demonstrates the dangers that police officers face on our behalf.”